Feds, East Haven Settle

The federal government has signed off on a set of rules for East Haven to fix the way it treats immigrants.

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it has signed off on those rules, in the form of a 55-page “Agreement for Effective and Constitutional policing” with the town.

It negotiated that agreement with the town as the price for dropping a civil suit it filed against East Haven after finding years worth of systematic unlawful harassment and violent persecution of Latino immigrants.

Click here to read the agreement.

The timing of the agreement may not be coincidental.

The Justice Department didn’t take action against alleged racial discrimination in East Haven until after President Obama’s election four years ago. The Justice Department’s civil rights division had been widely viewed as somnolent under the previous Republican administration. Nine months into Obama’s first term, it started actively investigating and taking legal action against purveyors of racial discrimination—including East Haven—under Obama’s appointed attorney general, Eric Holder.

East Haven at first fought Holder’s Justice Department after it launched civil and criminal actions against the town and its cops. Some observers saw the possibility of the feds easing off the town if Republicans won the Nov. 6 presidential election and regained control of the Justice Department and its civil rights division.

Then Obama won a second term on Nov. 6.

On Nov. 15, East Haven’s mayor and police commission formally approved the proposed consent decree in which they promised to make changes. The Justice Department approved the formal approval of the deal on Tuesday.

The deal’s highlights include, according to a release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office::

• Mandatory training and data-collection on “biased-free policing” and hiring and “notification to consulates when foreign nationals are detained,.
• “Comprehensive training, consistent force reporting and thorough force reviews and [internal investigations” into use of force.
• “The development of up-to-date policies and measures on applying for search warrants, documenting consent searches,
notifying supervisors of felony arrests and other ‘contempt-of-cop’ situations, inspecting detainees for injuries and preserving individuals’ First Amendment rights to observe and record police activity;
• Transparent and accountable civil complaint and internal discipline processes.

Click here, here and here for previous stories about the investigation.

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